JanOne with a Difference: Dealing with the stress of Christmas
As Tracey said in her blog post yesterday, the lead up to Christmas can be hugely demanding both physically and emotionally, especially if you have kids at home needing extra attention too. So it’s important you manage your time and your energy wisely if you want to feel rested and revived for JanOne!
When you are feeling stressed and over-tired this stimulates your sympathetic nervous system and adrenal glands, which then send a message to your body that it needs to be on heightened alert to deal with these extra stressors. Signs of an overstimulated sympathetic nervous system and tired adrenals include an inability to relax or switch off, problems with falling asleep or staying asleep, forgetfulness and foggy thinking, increased heart rate and blood pressure, increased reliance on sweets and caffeine to maintain your energy, energy slumps in the afternoon (requiring coffee and a muffin or a chunk of choccie to revive you) and then a second wind at night before you go to bed. Do you relate to any or all of these? If so, I encourage you to read my tips below and see which ones you can begin to incorporate into your life right now to avoid Christmas burn out!
- Each morning, before you do anything at all, go outside - get clean fresh air in your lungs, try and stand on a patch of grass bare feet and smell, notice, appreciate the environment you are in.
- Walk daily – even just 5 -10 minutes can increase your mood and reduce your stress levels. Try it and see!
- Breathe. If you’re finding yourself wound up, stop, bring it back it to the breath and calm the mind. Gentle breathing exercises help to turn off the stress response and promote relaxation. Just taking 3 gentle deep, diaphragmatic breaths two to three times daily can have a huge impact on the way that you feel. You can do this in the car at the traffic lights, on the bus, in the shower, or at your desk.
- Try to fit in yoga or some form of meditative practise that encourages your body to relax at the end of each day. This could be as simple as doing a little gardening, or reading a few pages of your favourite book or magazine. Simply stilling or distracting the mind for 10 to 15 minutes at the end of each day and nurturing your inner calm will be immensely beneficial.
- Ideally avoid all caffeine, but if you do feel the need for it, save it for a weekend treat only. Coffee overstimulates your adrenal glands and causes more stress hormones to be pumped into your system, wreaking havoc on your poor, overstressed body.
- Eating refined sugar and carbohydrates causes your blood sugar to fluctuate wildly, affects your energy levels and mood, and leaves you feeling tired and “HANGRY”! Choose snacks that are rich in protein, healthy oils and fibre instead. Foods such as nuts and seeds with fruit, vege sticks with hummus, green smoothies and Tracey’s yummy bliss balls are great options.
- Eat plenty of greens, as these are rich in magnesium and B vitamins that tend to become depleted during times of stress. Enjoy lots of green smoothies, fresh salads for lunch and big piles of steamed greens with dinner, and notice how your energy levels soar!
- Try not to overcommit. You can only do so much and spend so much, and it’s important to create boundaries on the expectations that are placed around Christmas. Let’s get back to the basics of this wonderful celebration, which are about getting together with family and loved ones and enjoying their company rather than thinking about the presents and how big or great they are.
- Nurture your inner-child. Find the magic in the simple things.
- Remember to respect and love yourself. Everything you do is out of your deep love and care for the special people in your life, and your desire to give them the best Christmas ever. And you know what, when it comes down to it, this is all that counts. You don’t have to be perfect.
Wishing you all a wonderful stress-free Christmas!
x Andrea (JSB Naturopath)